Pi­rates fo­cused on Sil­ver­ware

Coach Sre­do­je­vic still has high hopes for the sea­son

Pretoria News - - Sport - MIHLALI BALEKA @mih­lal­ibaleka STU­ART HESS stu­art.hess@inl.co.za

OR­LANDO Pi­rates coach Mi­cho Sre­do­je­vic be­lieves his team can still win sil­ver­ware this sea­son de­spite the in­con­sis­tency of re­sults in the Absa Premier­ship and los­ing out on the sea­son’s maiden cup com­pe­ti­tion, the MTN8.

“In ev­ery­thing that we go into, we have the high­est pos­si­ble am­bi­tions to go all the way and win it,” he ex­plained.

“That is the iden­tity of the club which I am cur­rently blessed to be the head coach of.

“All of us as the tech­ni­cal team and play­ers, to­gether with the sup­port of the man­age­ment and sup­port­ers, we are work­ing very hard to achieve what we are look­ing for.

“Last year, we had the so-called ‘soul-heal­ing ses­sion’ and this sea­son we want to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ‘feed the souls’.”

The Telkom Knock­out tour­na­ment that’s sched­uled to com­mence on Oc­to­ber 20-21, im­me­di­ately af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break, will of­fer the Bucs an­other op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge for sil­ver­ware this sea­son.

The Sea Rob­bers will be at home to Chippa United, and the Ser­bian says they’ll ap­proach the match with cau­tion.

“We want to give re­spect to Chippa United,” he in­sisted. “We should also give re­spect to our­selves and the game of foot­ball.

“This match re­ally de­mands our fo­cus. In a cup com­pe­ti­tion you have no right to have any slip, hence we will pay at­ten­tion to ev­ery de­tail so that we can pro­ceed to the next round.”

For the first club in PSL era that has a fin­ish­ing spe­cial­ist, Stephane Adam, Sre­do­je­vic ad­mits that they haven’t had the ex­pected po­tent at­tack so far and as such, they need to im­prove.

In 11 matches, they have merely scored 14 goals, while also miss­ing a num­ber of clear-cut chances.

How­ever, Mi­cho also ac­knowl­edges that the work that you put in at­tack should be equiv­a­lent to that which you put in de­fence.

As much as they’ve lacked sharp­ness up­front, they have also been leaky in de­fence con­sid­er­ing that they’ve con­ceded 11 goals so far.

“In foot­ball you need to bal­ance at­tack and de­fence,” Sre­do­je­vic said. IF the Highveld Lions needed any re­mind­ing that the jour­ney from the depths of de­spair last sum­mer will be a long one, they got it at the Wan­der­ers in three pun­ish­ing days against the Cape Co­bras.

The mar­gin of de­feat was a sub­stan­tial an in­nings and 71 runs and the dif­fer­ence in points earned a mam­moth 23. The Co­bras won vir­tu­ally ev­ery mini-bat­tle and from top to bot­tom they out­played a more ex­pe­ri­enced Lions team, half of whom had rep­re­sented the Proteas in one for­mat or an­other. New coach Enoch Nkwe is nowhere near press­ing a panic but­ton just yet. The sea­son as he men­tioned yes­ter­day, is still too young for that. “We are still work­ing on how we play four-day cricket, the play­ers are still adapt­ing to my phi­los­o­phy about how we must play four-day cricket. We be­lieve we have the right per­son­nel, it’s about how we play,” Nkwe said.

They played very badly at the Wan­der­ers, par­tic­u­larly in the first two days. The first in­nings was a wretched dis­play of bat­ting, the ex­e­cu­tion from nearly all the play­ers was “very poor,” ac­cord­ing to Nkwe.

The bowl­ing left a lot to be de­sired too, with Nkwe up­set by how badly his team’s at­tack missed their lengths and the in­abil­ity to prop­erly im­ple­ment plans. “We didn’t use our ex­pe­ri­ence; we were not pa­tient in ar­eas that would have tested the op­po­si­tion,” he said.

“We’d try some­thing but only for four or five balls, then we’d be bowl­ing bounc­ers or some­thing dif­fer­ent which was dis­ap­point­ing, be­cause it al­lowed their bats­men to set­tle.”

Nkwe found some pos­i­tives from the way his side stuck at it in the field; still chas­ing balls and tak­ing catches even af­ter 120 overs.

“We also bat­ted the way we wanted to in that sec­ond in­nings,” Nkwe added. A 46th first-class cen­tury from Stephen Cook was the high­light, as were half-cen­turies from Wi­han Lubbe and Nicky van den Bergh.

OR­LANDO Pi­rates coach Mil­ton Sre­do­je­vic. |

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